Posted in Progress

Watering, snipping grass, neglected compost and old foe skeletons

I did manage to get some time outside yesterday to do more than a round of watering.  Compared to last year, I’m consistently using three “can fills” per water from the rain barrel so far, where last year we barely needed just the one.  Most of that is due to the kitchen garden related plants, as well as trying to encourage some perennials that didn’t overwinter very well.  We haven’t been able to pick up the new rain barrel we paid for, but will when schedules align.  We haven’t needed it yet, so I’m not agonizing over the lack of pickup,  if it matters.

Note the two flying insect "shadows" you can see near the one cluster of fruit growing. I didn't even realize they'd made the shot.
Some of our plants have names (we’re odd). Shoobie, our northern highbush blueberry, was two years old when introduced last year, and this year’s crop is looking good for a three year old.

I trimmed the grassy area of the bed along the driveway, weeding as I worked in the driveway itself as well.  I have been leaving clover in the bed as a partial ground cover, but did pull some of the grasses completely out as I worked closer to the strawberry plants.

Speaking of the strawberry plants, so far none of the ones in the driveway bed seem to be the mock variety.  I’ve been trying to be mindful of the runner plants, and counted roughly three dozen possible berries growing.  I haven’t ever really cared for strawberries.  At my grandparents’ house there was one very small patch by a drain in the back sidewalk.  I don’t recall my grandparents spending much time tending it–or even encouraging it–but we did eat whatever berries it offered each year.

Now the driveway bed is ready for what we did in the first leg in the area immediately following that, which hopefully will happen this week.  Time will tell.  I didn’t measure it, but I think the next wood edge piece will come close to making the “third leg” of wood to be most of the strawberry area.  Beyond that, there are still some plants I’m puzzling over.  I think one is burdock, but not sure.  In the gap between where our neighbor’s fence ends and our garage begins, there are at least two if not three bushy/tree-like somethings there.  One seems to be tree of heaven, and if so will be getting ripped out ASAP.  Hate those.  Not quite as bad to some extent as Sumac if you catch them early enough, but a nightmare if you don’t tend to them right away.  [Also: note to self: find out the difference between the sugar maple and that other maple that’s getting aggressive in an invasive way.]

I don’t recall when what stage happened with our composting last year, but I was pretty good about daily turns not long after the initial heap was started.  This year, once the snow was gone I did start back up, then somehow fell right off the pattern and am just lately getting back into daily turns.

I realized yesterday that there is a lot that I could have broken up better before chucking it into the heap.  I also feel off trying to make sure the moisture level is decent.  It’s quickly gone very dry now that the rains have backed off, which I need to be more mindful about moving forward.  I am not being overly careful about the carbon to nitrogen ratio.  We also got lazy in that we never formed the three bays I had planned.  So it’s just one big heap at present, and probably far too much brown.

We are thinking of moving the compost to a different spot, but still pondering about where, exactly, if we move it from the current spot behind the garage.

The other thing I finally got around to was moving the vines of Oriental Bittersweet we had helped our elderly neighbor remove last year.  It was strangling a few of her conifers, and given how tall up the trees some had grown, they were quite the challenge to untangle from branches.  Yards and yards of vines–some as thick as fingers and woody with age.  I dragged the dead vines over to our rough woodsy pile.  Not sure if any critters will take better advantage of it one way or another now that the vines are more shaded, but I’m hoping some might.  (I thought I had snapped a set back picture of Shoobie where it was a wide enough shot to show the vines well, but you can barely see the edges of the vine pile, so no prior to move pics worth sharing, and haven’t take one after either.   Oh well.)



Care to share thoughts on this?